The new nationalism

US Politics
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The Times covered the Goldstone bar mitzvah controversy on its front page Saturday. See second paragraph; what does reporter Barry Bearak mean by "countrymen"?


"That grandfather is Richard Goldstone, one of this nation’s most eminent jurists and head of a United Nations investigation that said it found evidence of war crimes during Israel’s invasion of Gaza. Many of his countrymen not only took issue with the findings, they called the judge a traitor who had sold out his Jewish brethren."

In fact, many South African countrymen agreed with him. I would guess a fair-sized majority. Or is the journalist referring to a different definition of "countrymen" connected to Jews anywhere in the world and Israel? What’s happening here? Poor word choice by the journalist, right?

And toward the end of the piece, I object to this:

Here in the judge’s home country, many Jews suddenly viewed him as a heretic. He was accused of faulty reasoning. He was accused of being co-opted. He was accused of being the worst kind of anti-Semite, a self-hating Jew.

But does that justify keeping him from the bar mitzvah?

It’s as if the journalist accepts the viewpoint. Barry Bearak should have written, "But does such reasoning justify keeping him from the bar mitzvah?"

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